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Silva wrestling tourney returns

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

When Gary Silva called a pin, there was no room for doubt.

When Silva was ready to make the call, he would leap into the air, and when he returned to earth he would emphatically slam his palm on the mat.

Anyone in the gym, or likely in the vicinity of the building for that matter, knew that a pin had just occurred.

Silva, who was a fixture on the local wrestling scene for decades as a well-respected referee, died in 2012 at the age of 49.

One of Silva’s good friends in the wrestling world was Scooter Weathers, LaGrange’s head coach.

As a way to honor Silva, Weathers decided to name a tournament LaGrange hosts each year after his friend.

The Gary Silva Invitational was born, and the tournament has been going strong for five years.

This year’s Silva Invitational will be held on Saturday at Gardner Newman Middle School, and 12 teams will participate, including the host Grangers as well as the Callaway Cavaliers.

Other teams competing are Bowdon, Dutchtown, Northside-Columbus, Columbus, East Coweta, Harris County, Heard County, Northgate and Central-Carroll.

Weigh-in will be at 7 a.m. on Saturday, and the action should get underway at 9 a.m.

“We’ll practice Friday morning, and we’ll be ready to roll Saturday,” Weathers said.

Weathers is happy to have the tournament named after someone who was such a pivotal figure in the wrestling world.

“He was one of the top referees in Georgia. He was one of the top refs in the business,” Weathers said. “Our young guys never got to see him. I’ve told them, he was a guy who was flamboyant, and everybody loved him, and he loved the kids. He got on the mat with them sometimes and wrestled around. I can still remember him and Owen, my little 8-year-old, getting on the mat and rolling around, and just having a heyday.”

Weathers added that “I’ve won with him, and I’ve lost with him, and I never left the mat with him refereering a match. He was one of the best.”